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Daily Journal
     May 7, 2021      #74-127 KDJ
 

SOFTBALL: Manteno regroups with bounceback win at

By Cody Smith
csmith@daily-journal.com


KANKAKEE — Manteno’s softball team has gotten off to one of the area’s best starts this season by jumping out to a 6-1 overall record. They began the season 5-0 before a tough one-run loss to Lisle on Monday, so when they met for a road matchup against Kankakee on Wednesday evening, the Panthers used their nonconference game against the Kays as a way to bounce back and regroup by snagging a 17-5 win.

“I feel like we had the opportunity to clear out our brains from that loss to Lisle and get back into the right mindset to move forward,” Panthers coach Josh Carlile said. “Tonight’s game, I thought it got us re-focused.”

Manteno’s determination to win was evident early on as the Panthers went out and put up a five-run first inning. After Kays ace Emily Glogowski struggled to find her command out of the gate with two walks on eight balls, Alyssa Dralle singled up the middle to drive in Karli Wenzel. Shortly after that, Dayli Dwyer grounded into a fielder’s choice, which drove in Mackenzie Hespen before a Kankakee defensive error cost the Kays a third run.

Up 3-0, Manteno’s Avery Osborn smacked a double to drive in two more runs to help the Panthers put the pressure on the Kays by taking a 5-0 lead midway through the opening frame.

“That first inning was huge ...” Carlile said. “It was important for us to put some runs up early so we could set that tone and get into that right mindset.”

The Kays tried their best to get even in the bottom half of the first against Dralle, but the freshman stayed locked in all game. Dralle allowed five runs (two earned) on six hits and struck out 12 in a complete game effort to pick up the win.

“It felt great to pick up the win as a team to help us improve to 6-1,” Dralle said. “It also felt good to pick up the win on the mound.”

Kankakee scored one run in the first and third innings off throwing errors by the Panthers, resulting in the Kays taking a 6-2 deficit through three innings of action. It was at this point Manteno’s bats started to get hot again as they went on to add three spots in both the fourth and fifth innings, fueled by clutch hitting that was evidenced by the team going 14-32 with ducks on the pond.

“We did a lot of hitting practice yesterday, and we focused on getting solid contact without trying to do much to the ball,” Carlile said. “And I think that equated to us putting a lot of balls in play with runners in scoring position today.”

Despite being down big late, Kankakee did its best to make things interesting. The Kays managed to avoid a mercy rule loss in each of the fifth, sixth and seventh innings by scoring one run in the fifth and two runs in the sixth. They earned their three runs off two throwing errors and a line drive RBI single by Glogowski.

“We had a bad first inning,” said Kays coach Dennis Pommier, who was filling in for head coach Allie Fox. “When you get behind to a tough team like this, it’s tough to come back, but I give us some credit; when they had us down by 10-plus runs for three innings, we were able to score a run or two to keep the game going.”

Kankakee only totaled two hits before its bats started to come alive in the final three innings of play, making it difficult complete the comeback late in the game.

“When we put the ball in play and forced Manteno to make a play in the field, some things happened,” Pommier said. “But if you’re not hitting the ball, the defense doesn’t have to work, and that’s kind of what happened today.”

The Kays finished with six hits and went a combined 3-12 with runners in scoring position. It was the key difference and the direct result of Kankakee dropping to 3-3 on the season.

“We take pride in limiting the opponent’s ability to score,” Carlile said. “Opponents can get on base, but we want to limit the damage.”

STAT BOOK

Reygan Carlile totaled four hits in four at bats to go along with a team-high four RBIs and a run scored to lead the Panthers at the plate. Dralle and Osborn added three hits and three RBIs each. Wenzel totaled two hits and three runs scored. Dralle also picked up the win on the bump, tossing seven innings with 12 strikeouts.

Avery Jackson went 2 for 2 with four runs scored to lead Kankakee’s offense. Hailey Lamie chipped in two hits and an RBI in three plate appearances.

UP NEXT

Manteno (6-1) returns home for a nonconference game against Donovan at 4:30 p.m. today. Kankakee (3-3) travels to Thornton at 4:30 p.m. Monday.

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